Tuesday, May 03, 2005

A Bagina Monologue

Ok. So as everyone who has children knows, children are curious. My sweet Soph, in my opinion, is even more so than others. Because she has been raised with lots of little boys, and seen lots of little boy diapers changed, she became curious about the differences between boys and girls pretty early. Somehow or another, she settled on "wiener" for her penis euphemism. A few months ago while we were in the tub, she asked me a very Freudian question. "Sophie wiener?" So, I tried to throw off the Puritan shackles that surround the female genitilia in this country and explained to her that no, she doesn't have a wiener. She has, well, hmmm. I couldn't really come up with one word for the parts of the nether region. So I ended up giving her this 5th grade maturation program talk and listed all the parts separately. Even now I feel hesitant to type the words. I said, "Well, you have a vagina. That's on the inside. You also have ovaries and Fallopian tubes and some other stuff on the inside. On the outside you have labia and a clitoris and all together the outside parts are called the vulva." She basically tuned out after the first 5 seconds, and was content with the answer that she has a vagina. (p.s. Vulva is not in the spell check dictionary. hmmm.)

So for a several days after that, she was processing this and figuring out the toddler version of the birds and the bees. She'd think of people we know and ask, "Grandma wiener?" and I'd kind of cringe and say, "No, Grandma has a vagina." So she'd say, "Grandpa wiener?" and again I'd kind of inwardly shudder and say, "Yes, Grandpa has a wiener."

This was kind of uncomfortable for me. I mean, it is my job to explain this stuff, but all in all, I didn't think it was going quite how it should. Especially when we were at the grocery store, and she announced to the check-out guy, "I hab a bagina!" (No spelling error. Soph has trouble with the "v" sound.") That poor guy didn't know weather to shit or go blind.

Now we've moved on from the nether region to boobs. I mean--they're boobs. What else should I tell her their called? I happen to be, well, super stacked. So now she's noticing that not everyone has huge cans like her mom. Several times she's said to me, "I have little boobs. You have big boobs." Christ. What do I say to that? She even told our little neighbor girl, "Your boobs are little." Luckily, the neighbor couldn't really understand what Sophie said. So I tried to explain to Soph that grown up ladies like mom have boobs, but that little girls like Sophie don't. Of course, this isn't entirely true. I also explained to her that girls get boobs, but boys don't. Also, not entirely true. Then I told Soph that it's not nice to talk to people about their boobs, but I'm not sure that was the right thing to say either. I don't want her to think that just because she's a girl, she has all these parts that she's not allowed to talk about.


Today's best thing about being a mom:
The hilarity never stops.

Today's worst thing about being a mom:
I'm not sure I like being the acting anatomy expert.


Marksthespot said...

"I hab a bagina." HAHHH!

I will teach Noah to say that.

Kelly said...

Now I'm waiting for nme's response.....

It IS harder to deal with this stuff when talking to a little girl. I guess the balance between being polite and creating embarrassment about our own bodies feels like a rather thin tightrope. I'm kidless so I'm not the expert either. I think you're doing fine though. The easiest way to make a child feel embarrassed about themselves is to NOT talk about it at all or be dishonest.

NME said...

I think you are doing a great job, Kelly is dead on, and that my husband is a nut.

These talks are always embarassing - and even more so when the child starts telling the world - but being open and honest with Sophie is the best thing. I have a half-sister who is ten and whenever she would ask me a complicated question about the world I would go on some lengthy diatribe. But lucky for her I would then say "Do you understand what I mean?" and if she didn't I would try to simplify until she understood. And though my method probably wasn't the best I tried not too automatically try to talk down to her and I think she appreciated that

God. I went on again. Do you understand what I mean?

patrice said...

in addition to what nicole and kelly said - I always punctuate such talks like that with "and this is stuff you should usually talk about in private." saves the checkout boy from any unwanted bagina talk.

(I, being completely petrified and untrusting of the rest of the world, always added in "and these are your parts and no one else is allowed to touch them unless you say so. if someone does touch them, you can tell me or your dad or someone you trust and we'll make sure that person gets in trouble." but that's because I'm a freak.)

TD said...

I found your blog through Patrice and NME's, and I'm adding it my growing list of post-lunch, made-it-through-half-the-day afternoon rewards. Quality stuff.

My husband and I are still DINKS, but when the time comes, I'll be coming up with a way to explain lesbian grandparents, along with baginas and wieners. I wonder if there's a book about that.

Jen O. said...

"Yes, Grandpa has a wiener" made me howl with the funny while at my desk on an unusually-quiet-for-a-Friday kind of day. Now my whol office knows that, yes, Grandpa has a wiener.